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      Race, Racialisation and ‘Colonial Common Sense’ in Capital Cases of Men of Colour in England and Wales, 1919–1957

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          Abstract

          This article explores the role of ‘colonial common sense’ ( Stoler, 2008) in racialising men of colour in capital cases in twentieth-century England and Wales. Following the First World War psychiatric and psychological discourses became more prominent in both the criminal justice system and the wider culture, but were not the primary means through which race was constructed in capital trials. Rather, colonially informed common sense understandings of racial difference were more significant and were themselves an aspect of medical expertise, such as prison medicine. The article discusses cases such as Djang Djin Sung, the first man of colour to be executed in England after the First World War, Lock Ah Tam, who was hanged in 1926 despite benefiting from a well-funded insanity defence and Eric Dique, who murdered his girlfriend in 1956. Analysis of cases of men of colour sentenced to death in this period contributes to uncovering the history of racism in the criminal justice system.

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          Most cited references 22

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          White Women and Men of Colour: Miscegenation Fears in Britain after the Great War

           Lucy Bland (2005)
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            The Black Criminal Other as an Object of Social Control

            Throughout this paper, we contend that the ‘gang’ has been appropriated by the state as an ideological device that drives the hypercriminalisation of black, mixed, Asian, and other minority ethnic (BAME) communities. Drawing upon two research studies, we demonstrate how the gang is evoked to explain an array of contemporary ‘crime’ problems, which in turn (re)produces racialised objects to be policed. With particular reference to collective punishments, we suggest that “gang-branding” is critical to the development of guilt-producing associations that facilitate the arrest, charging, and prosecution of countless numbers of BAME people for offences they did not commit. As such, there is now an urgent need to ‘take seriously’ the criminalising intents of a dangerous criminology of the Other, which legitimises intrusive racist policing and surveillance, and justifies the imposition of deliberate harms upon racialised communities.
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              Reflections on One Hundred Capital Cases Submitted to Electroencephalography

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2056-6700
                Open Library of Humanities
                Open Library of Humanities
                2056-6700
                04 October 2019
                2019
                : 5
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]University of Sussex, UK
                Article
                10.16995/olh.471
                Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Categories
                Literature, law and psychoanalysis

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